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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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choice, on the average decide to have so many children that birth rates and rates of population growth remain high, then the economic and social development of the nation as a whole may be impeded and coming generations of human beings may be handicapped by their very numbers.
The freedom of husbands and wives to make reproductive decisions must, therefore, be tempered by concern for the rights and interests of others. The first and most obvious interest to be protected is that of the children already born within the family. The birth of additional children may affect them adversely in a number of ways, as we have seen. Next come all other members of the society whose economic welfare and social well-being are lessened by rapid population growth, and the younger and subsequent generations, whose opportunities will be diminished by the economic stagnation and loss of amenities caused by this growth. Finally, the interests of other nations and societies must be taken into account, because all nations ultimately make demands on the same pool of resources.
Governments have an obligation to protect the interests of all these groups against excessive reproduction by individual parents. One of the most difficult of population questions relates to designing and justifying governmental policies and procedures to accomplish this end.
Numerous policies have been suggested, some of which are discussed in the sections that follow.
Creation of a Small Family Norm. One policy that would appear to present a minimum restriction on individual freedom and to be well within the generally accepted practices of governments is to encourage private tastes, preferences, expectations, and attitudes toward a small family norm. Educational efforts for this purpose at the community level involve training of local leaders to explain the need for reducing fertility to other members of their communities, group discussions led by family planning workers, and personal persuasion of individuals by these workers. In addition to community-level programs, campaigns of public education and communication through television, radio, the press, outdoor advertising, and other media have also been undertaken. Such community and public efforts are accepted as legitimate components of population programs by many of the less developed countries.
Research on Fertility Control A policy of generous support of research to improve the acceptability and effectiveness of means of contraception and contragestation (prevention of implantation or development of the fertilized ovum), to achieve reversible sterilization, to find ways of determining the sex of the embryo at about the time of conception, and on social means of achieving fertility decline can be thoroughly justified on both ethical and practical grounds.
Like applied research in agriculture, research in human reproductive biology and psychology should be supported by governments, as should research